Dieffenbachia is a herbaceous perennial native to tropical American countries. It is commonly known as dumbcane but has several other names. The names are Gold Dieffenbachia, Variable Dieffenbachia, or Spotted Dumbcane.
Most gardeners grow it as a houseplant. The plant has a non-native appeal with elliptic-oblong-shaped leaves that come in a range of colors.
You will love its shout-out among other houseplants. On the flip side, Dieffenbachia is toxic to pets and children.
It is referred to as dumbcane owing to its irritating sap containing oxalate crystals. These oxalate crystals irritate the soft parts of the mouth and cause a soar throat.
Dieffenbachia thrives in medium light levels with indoor room temperatures.
Let’s talk more about Dieffenbachia and its companion plants.
Growing and Potting Dieffenbachia
If Dieffenbachia looks like a good catch for you, you may want to propagate it indoors through potting.
- When preparing the potting mix, pick peaty soil that is well-draining and slightly acidic. Soggy soil leads to root damage.
- Identify bright spots with less direct sunlight in your house. Your environment should also be humid.
- You can achieve this by misting the leaves, especially during the dry months of Winter. Alternatively, you can provide a humid environment by keeping the pot on top of a wet tray with pebbles.
- Dieffenbachia grows best in scanty sunlight. Keep rotating the plant to ensure it has enough sunlight.
- One of the things you need to look out for is your watering patterns for the best results. Overwatering causes problems with Dieffenbachia, something typical of houseplants.
- Water the plant twice a week except during Winter. Always ensure the top two inches of the soil are dry before you water a potted dieffenbachia.
- The water should drain through the bottom of the pot.
- Common pests to Dieffenbachia are spider mites. You could use commercial products like horticultural oil to get rid of them.
- Dieffenbachia thrives best in temperature ranges of 18-23 degrees celsius. Avoid temperatures that range below 15 degrees celsius. The low temperatures cause Dieffenbachia to lose its lower leaves.
To keep your plant healthy, regularly feed it with fertilizer after every 4-6 weeks. Use a diluted and well-balanced fertilizer.
Companion Plants For Dieffenbachia
As mentioned earlier, Dieffenbachia loves indirect lighting, high humidity, and a temperature range of 18-23 degrees celsius.
Any houseplants fitting under these growing conditions should be ideal as companions to Dieffenbachia.
To start with, we have identified a list of plants that meet the above criteria.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider Plant is a popular houseplant amongst gardeners. It’s a perennial flowering plant native to Southern Africa with other common names like spider ivy and ribbon plant.
The plant has been naturalized in other habitats of the world, such as Western Australia. The most popular spider plant types are the variegated ones.
What’s more, the spider plant grows to about 24 inches tall with leaves that reach a length of 8-18 inches. It thrives in almost any condition. The plant has typical small plantlets that form along its trailing stems, appearing like spiders.
The narrow strap-shaped leaves arise from a central point. Some species have solid green leaves, while others have a variety of yellow or white lengthwise stripes.
Their leaves appear folded down the middle. Spider plants love medium to bright light.
Keep humidity in your room average and ensure cool to average temperature ranges. However, the plant can also tolerate warm conditions.
The spider plant is the perfect blend for your Dieffenbachia, thanks to its variegated nature.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
Also known as the Sword Fern, the Boston Fern adds to the list of Dieffenbachia companion plants. It’s a fern species in the family Nephrolepidaceae and native to most tropical regions of the world. The plant has sword-shaped arching fronds with numerous tiny leaflets.
Boston Fern is evergreen and grows to a height of 35 inches. The plant does not require extreme sunlight, which makes it a good fit for indoor planting.
You can place the plant in indirect sunlight avoiding too much shade.
It has similar temperature tolerances to that of Dieffenbachia. Too much heat or cold destroys the plant. Boston Fern thrives in high humidity ranges of above 80%.
You want to place the planting pot on a tray filled with water pebbles. The other option to go for is to mist the plants.
Low humidity causes the frond tips to turn brown. The brown coloration gradually increases to the fronds and the entire plant if the situation isn’t corrected early enough.
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Next up, we have the Cast Iron Plant on our list. As the name suggests, the plant is highly adaptable and can withstand neglect to a greater extent. It is a flowering plant in the Asparagaceae family and a native to Japan.
Gardeners grow it widely as a houseplant, but it can also do well in the outdoor environment, thanks to its robustness and resiliency.
It has beautiful foliage to spruce your garden outdoors and produces creamy purple flowers at the plant base.
The plant is a hardy houseplant that can withstand challenging growing environments. It also has lance-shaped vivid green leaves that can grow up to 2 feet tall, spreading 3 feet wide.
Growing a Cast Iron plant requires some patience due to its slow growth rate. The plant does not love direct sunlight; it causes its leaves to bleach and burn.
Plant them under indirect sunlight under a shady area. The Castor Iron plant best thrives under temperature ranges of 18-23 degrees celsius.
It does well in moderate humidity levels; however, it’s not a requirement for healthy growth.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
The aglaonema is a flowering plant in the Araceae family. It’s native to Asia, and you will identify it by its erect growing and creeping stems.
Their short stems have large vivid oval leaves that come with color variations from dark green to red. You will love it as a houseplant in your home decor.
Like the above plants, they are easy to grow indoors. They prefer indirect sunlight indoors, making them perfect companions for Dieffenbachia.
The dark green varieties love more shade than the variegated types. Consequently, exposing the plant to direct sunlight burns its delicate leaves.
If planting indoors, avoid exposure to cool temperatures such as near air conditioning vents. They prefer temperature ranges of not more than 23 degrees celsius.
Aglaonema loves high humidity levels, which you should ideally find in greenhouses; however, you can successfully grow it indoors by bringing it as near as possible to these conditions.
You may want to acquire a humidifier or grow it near your bathroom or kitchen, areas with high humidity.
Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
The Dragon tree is a common houseplant with slender red-edged leaves. It’s native to Madagascar and forgiving to beginning gardeners.
You will love it because of its unique set of beauty and hardiness, courtesy of its ability to tolerate drought conditions.
Outdoors, the tree can grow up to 20 feet tall. It thrives in bright (indirect) light but can still grow well under partial shade.
Direct sunlight rays cause leaves to burn. Dragon tree does well in temperature ranges of 21-26 degrees celsius and loves a humid environment.
You want to keep it in humid conditions or mist the plant. These conditions are more or less similar to those required for Dieffenbachia, making it a perfect companion plant.
Dieffenbachia plants can be a wonderful addition to your house from an aesthetic point of view. The companion plants listed above will only add to their beauty while not being too demanding on their own.
However, do take care in choosing planting spots as they can be a strong irritant to your pets or children.